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Governor William BRADFORD

Male 1589 - 1657  (68 years)


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  • Name William BRADFORD 
    Prefix Governor 
    Born 19 Mar 1589  Austerfield, South Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 9 May 1657  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Burial Hill, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Marriage date also listed as 9 Dec 1613.

      “...was a dissenter from the church of England, and in 1607, when only eighteen years of age, in company with others, made an unsuccessful attempt to go to Amsterdam, Holland, and through the treachery of the master of the vessel, they were throrown into prison. Another attempt, afterward, was successful. He was active in preparing to come to America with Reverend John Robinson’s church. He was foremost in finding a proper place for a settlement of the new colony. The term “Pilgrim” is derived from his description of himself and his coreligionists as they left Holland (July 22, 1620) for Southampton, where they joined another group of English separatists on the Mayflower...
      Soon after the death of Governor Carver, William was elected Governor of the Colony, which he held by annual elections 1621-33, 1635-37, 1639-44, 1645-57. He was elected Assistant Governor 1634-5, 1637-8, 1647-50. Governor Bradford took a prominent part in all the councils, which were held at his house, and in all civic, political and military affairs. From his house at the foot of Burial Hill each Sunday morning the company of the people who assembled there marched up to the fort at its top, where religious services were held. Governor Bradford is called the father of American history. His best known writing and one of the very few not lost is the “History of Plymouth Plantations.” This book gives a correct and valuablle picture of the events of that time, and is the only source of knowledge of this period. Governor Bradford left a library of 275 volumes. At the time of his death, the Governor was the richest man in the colony. His property was estimated at 400 pounds. He had a home in Plymouth and a farm in Kingston.”

      “William Bradford, son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford, was baptized on 19 March 1589 at Austerfield, Yorkshire, England. He joined the Separatist group at the age of 17 and went to Holland when that group fled from England. He married Dorothy May at Amsterdam on 10 December 1613, by whom he had one child. This child was left in Holland when William and Dorothy embarked on the SPEEDWELL and transferred to the MAYFLOWER at Southampton.

      William was one of the forty-one signers of the Mayflower Compact, his name appearing second on the list, after John Carver.

      Dorothy May Bradford drowned in Cape Cod Harbor on 7 December 1620, an event which has never been authentically explained.

      William served as Governor of Plymouth Colony from 1621 until 1657, with the exception of five years. From 1630 to 1650 he wrote the famous History of Plimoth Plantation.

      William married widow Alice (Carpenter) Southworth on 14 August 1623 shortly after she arrived at Plymouth on the ANNE. By this marriage there were three children. Descent from William Bradford has been proven through only two of his children, William and Joseph.

      William Bradford died on 19 May 1657. His will and inventory of estate are on record at Plymouth. Alice died in April 1670.”

      Will of William Bradford: 9 May 1657:
      “The last Will and Testament Nunckupative of Mr William Bradford senir: Deceased May the Ninth 1657 and exhibited to the court held att Plymouth June 3d 1657

      Mr William Bradford senir: being weake in body but in prfect memory haveing Defered the forming of his Will in hopes of haveing the healp of Mr Thomas Prence therin; feeling himselfe very weake and drawing on to the conclusion of his mortall liffe spake as followeth; I could have Desired abler then myselfe in the Desposing of that I have; how my estate is none knowes better then youerselfe, said hee to Lieftenant Southworth; I have Desposed to John and William alreddy theire proportions of land which they are possessed of;

      My Will is that my son Josepth bee made in some sort equall to his brethern out of my estate;

      My further Will is that my Deare & loveing wife Allice Bradford shalbee the sole Exequitrix of my estate; and for her future maintainance my Will is that my Stocke in the Kennebecke Trad be reserved for her Comfortable Subsistence as farr as it will extend and soe further in any such way as may bee Judged best for her;

      I further request and appoint my welbeloved Christian ffrinds Mr Thomas Prence Captaine Thomas Willet and Lieftenant Thomas Southworth to be the Suppervissors for the Desposing of my estate according to the prmises Confiding much in theire faithfulnes

      I comend unto youer Wisdome and Descretions some smale bookes written by my owne hand to bee Improved as you shall see meet; In speciall I Comend to you a little booke with a blacke cover wherin there is a word to Plymouth a word to Boston and a word to New England with sundry usefull verses ;

      These pticulars were expressed by the said William Bradford Govr the 9th of May 1657 in the prsence of us Thomas Cushman Thomas Southworth Nathaniell Morton; whoe were Deposed before the court held att Plymouth the 3d of June 1657 to the truth of the abovesaid Will that it is the last Will and Testament of the abovesaid Mr William Bradford senir.”««s28»», ««s29»» [1, 2]
    Person ID I6444  Lowell&Block
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2019 

    Father William BRADFORD,   b. 1557, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jul 1591, Austerfield, South Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 34 years) 
    Mother Alice HANSON 
    Married 28 Jun 1584  England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F2430  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Dorothea “Dorothy” MAY,   b. 19 Mar 1596, Wisbach, Cambridgeshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Dec 1620, Provincetown, Barnstable, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 24 years) 
    Married 10 Dec 1613  Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. John BRADFORD,   b. Abt 1618, Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2019 
    Family ID F2417  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Alice CARPENTER,   b. 3 Aug 1590, Wrington, Somerset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Mar 1670, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 14 Aug 1623  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Major William BRADFORD, Jr.,   b. 17 Jun 1624, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Feb 1703, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
     2. Mercy BRADFORD,   b. Bef 22 May 1627, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 9 May 1657  (Age < 29 years)
    +3. Joseph BRADFORD,   b. Abt 1630, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Jul 1715, Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 85 years)
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2019 
    Family ID F2416  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 19 Mar 1589 - Austerfield, South Yorkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 10 Dec 1613 - Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 14 Aug 1623 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 9 May 1657 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Burial Hill, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S28] Pilgrim Biographies., Stanford, Patricia Moseley.

    2. [S29] Caleb Johnson’s MayflowerHistory.com., Johnson, Caleb.